Cooler weather, brown fat, and feeling hungry.

Some things I've learned over the last several months is that we have something called "brown fat" that is highly metabolically active. Babies have a lot more brown fat than adults, and some people have more brown fat than others into adulthood. This brown fat is what scientists think may be the reason why some people have those naturally fast metabolisms, and others seem to have slower metabolisms.

In a nutshell, as I understand it, brown fat keeps you warm when it gets cold out. It is your body's heat generator and uses a lot of calories to keep the body warm. We've all met those people who seem to act like heat generators and always are giving off a lot of heat. That is probably because they have highly active brown fat.

The weather in my area has turned considerably cooler over the last couple of weeks. The leaves are starting to turn just a bit, and I am putting on sweaters and drinking hot beverages a lot more often. I'm also feeling like I can eat a metric ton of doughnuts.:laugh:

Has anyone else noticed that a change in the weather has also increased their appetites? When it was 90-100 degrees out every day I had a hard time trying to just reach my calorie goals. This week however, I feel hungry just about all the time, and have had a tough time just staying in control. Sometimes I find myself wandering into the kitchen at random times. Yesterday, I had eaten all my calories by 3pm. Then I went of a long bike ride and still went over by almost 700 calories.

I was still hungry when I went to bed, but I blame the wine for that. :wink:


  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 33,499 Member
    Brown fat....okay - if you say so.

    I gain anywhere from 2-7 pounds every winter and have to re-lose them every summer.

    There are lots of biological reasons why, I just never heard of brown fat...and thank you for the visual image now in my head forever :wink:
  • I've heard of brown fat. I'm ashamed to admit it, but i bought a fat burner (years ago) that was specifically supposed to help you burn brown fat. ummm it didn't work...healthy eating and exercise seem the only way for me to burn any kind of fat.

    I live in Florida so we don't get too much cold weather, but I do agree my appetite does increase. I definitely crave warm and filling foods.

    Great post..interesting point about brown fat generating more heat...makes sense.
  • TheRealParisLove
    TheRealParisLove Posts: 1,907 Member
    I don't think it is possible to burn brow fat from what I've been reading. You would have to have it surgically removed to reduce your brown fat stores. It is an organ like your lymphatic system. It activates when needed, otherwise it just stands at the ready.

    I know the name "brown fat" sounds terrible. Maybe calling it by the proper name "Brown adipose tissue" would be less shudder inducing.

    Here's a wikipedia article that kind of explains what it is:
  • BSchoberg
    BSchoberg Posts: 712 Member
    The brown-fat issue aside (and I have heard that), it's true that we are hard wired to want to lay on more fat in preparation for colder weather. Yet another evolutionary tool that is no longer required and can, in fact, be potentially harmful. *sigh*
  • SoDamnHungry
    SoDamnHungry Posts: 6,999 Member
    It's still 90 degrees here... I want to eat everything, but I'm gonna go ahead and say that's hormones.
  • natesangel
    natesangel Posts: 210 Member
    this is actually very interesting, thanks for the wiki link. my husband and daughter are like that, they both sweat sooo much at night in that first bit of sleep (you know when most of us grab the covers and snuggle in!) they are both slim trim and healthy as can be (well hubby looks too thin but eats over 5000 cals a day :( ) and it's interesting to note that they think it's more skeletal muscle relation now than fat. now if we can only learn how to build more of this in adults we may be on to something!!!
  • kathyms13
    kathyms13 Posts: 497 Member
    ive never liked the cold but have noticed that since loosing 7st i feel even colder.
  • rubyautumn4
    rubyautumn4 Posts: 818 Member
    I'm always insanely hot but sadly also much chubbier than I'd like. Sooooo I got the short end of this.
  • bcattoes
    bcattoes Posts: 17,301 Member
    Until recently it was thought that adults didn't have brown fat. That's why it's commonly referred to as baby fat. It was thought that it was lost before adulthood but now we know that adults do have it. And there is some evidence that a hormone created during exercise can change energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat.
  • rainbowbow
    rainbowbow Posts: 7,491 Member
    I must be screwed then because I am freezing ALL of the time. And yes, i live with one of those lucky SOB's who is always warm. He keeps the house at 69-70 and i've noticed my appetite is SIGNIFICANTLY higher when I'm freezing my butt off in there. I also feel less satiated.

    coincidence? Probably! who knows!
  • megleo818
    megleo818 Posts: 595 Member
    Hmmm. I haven't heard the term "brown fat" in 30 years. Back then I had a boyfriend who had lost a bunch of weight (like 90 pounds or something) and swore that he was "building brown fat" by keeping the heat turned off and not wearing an effing sweatshirt in the winter. I'd run around closing windows and adjusting the thermostat constantly, trying to stave off hypothermia. He ended up gaining and losing that same huge amount of weight a few times over the next couple of decades, so I decided that it was the massive amounts of running he did when he was "being good" were what got him slim, not the brown fat. But who knows?

    Anyway, being the contrary human that I always tend to be, I usually gain weight when the weather is warm and lose it when it cools back down. I think it's because I hate the heat and tend to become a sullen jello-person who moves as little as possible as soon as the temperature gets much above 80. I'm just more active in the cooler months. Hey -- maybe I should leave the effing sweatshirt at home when I go out to exercise in winter and try to build me some brown fat! :laugh: